A Virginia woman with a penchant for globe-trotting has just been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after it was revealed that she had been running a fraudulent loan scam.
According to Washington Post, last February Keisha Williams was arrested by the FBI and pleaded guilty to 14 fraud-related charges after 20 people testified against her.
Williams acquired $5.4 million from a fraudulent healthcare software scheme that robbed over 50 people out of their savings. Authorities say at least $2.7 million of that money went towards luxury travel and accessories from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel.
The 43-year-old claimed she had purchased Austrian software that would allow doctors to remotely examine and talk with patients, but told her victims she needed cash to pay taxes and fees on the product.
Her sales pitch that she “needed emergency funding to get software that she had purchased out of ‘escrow’ in Austria”, worked so well she even managed to convince a successful California businessman, Christian D’Andrade, to partner with her to raise $5.58 million – which included almost $2 million of his own money.
Williams lived the high from bilking money from a 71-year-old cancer survivor who is now more than $250,000 out of pocket and a special needs teacher and recent widow.
After she got people to empty out their savings accounts she booked a stay at the Ritz-Carlton in the Bahamas, the Cavalieri in Rome, went on a trip to Disney Land and then blew $75,000 on a trip to Jamaica for her girlfriend’s birthday.
While on a trip to Bora Bora she spotted actor Tracy Morgan and reportedly bragged, “I have the biggest villa on the island.”
“The way in which you spent this money … is appalling,” Judge Leonie Brinkema told her before imposing a 15-and-a-half year sentence in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. “It was one of the worst (cases) I’ve seen.”
Investors in the four-year scam were promised a “megabucks investment opportunity” with huge returns, but one businessman lost his business, his two houses, car, and all his savings, according to court papers, along with the savings of his girlfriend, ex-wife and a business mentee. It was further revealed that Williams never fully purchased the healthcare software.
“This is a being without a heart or soul; no human can do what she has knowingly done to so many of us,” wrote one victim wrote in a letter to the court.
Williams has degrees in electrical engineering and law but came under investigation after several complaints were filed alleging that her consulting firm charged clients small businesses advance fees for work she hadn’t perform. Prosecutors have also found evidence she was involved in mortgage fraud.
When given a chance to address the court and her victims rather than provide any explanations for her actions, she chose instead to ask for mercy and state that she would be a good candidate for rehabilitation.
“I believe I am a good person who made some bad choices,” she said. She also quoted a Bible verse from 2 Corinthians, adding, “I’m a new person.”